A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson.

Schizophrenic who strangled son, 6, ‘was not a

Social workers decided a six-year-old child was not at risk just
two weeks before he was strangled by his father, a man with
paranoid schizophrenia, a court heard yesterday.

Bedfordshire social services was urged to find out what went
wrong in “this tragic case” to make sure the same thing did not
happen again, by the judge at Luton crown court.

Social services were contacted by head teacher at Jason
Hill’s school, because she was concerned about the irrational
behaviour of the boy’s father, Peter.

Initial inquiries into the welfare of the child were carried out
by social services, but on August 13 last year, they decided to
take no further action.

Hill strangled Jason two weeks later by wrapping a shoe lace
around his neck twice.

Mr Justice Wright calling for an inquiry said: “I am asking the
chief executive of the social services department to conduct a
review of this tragic case as a matter of urgency to consider what
lessons could be learnt and what changes can be introduced.”

The court heard Hill plead guilty to manslaughter on the grounds
of diminished responsibility. He was ordered to be detained
indefinitely at a hospital under Section 37 of the Mental Health

Source:- The Times Wednesday 8 May page 5

Race call

Schools in Bradford need to work harder to break down racial
tensions that resulted in last summer’s riots, according to a
critical report from Ofsted.

It said education authorities had a key role to reduce racial
polarisation of communities.

Source:- The Times Wednesday 8 May page 5

Pledge of free vote on gay adoption

Unmarried and gay couples could be allowed to adopt children
after ministers announced there would be a free vote on the issue
in the House of Commons.

Health secretary Alan Milburn gave his support to extending
adoption rights to cohabiting couples so long as they live “as
partners in an enduring family relationship”.

Although likely to be agreed by MPs, the extension of rights to
homosexual couples is likely to be a matter of fierce debate in the
House of Lords where the matter could still be scuppered.

Under current legislation, only single people or married couples
are permitted to adopt.

Source:- The Times Wednesday 8 May page 7

Elderly losing out

Everyday services for older people, such as meals on wheels, day
care and all round personal care have been badly affected as a
result of chronic under funding of community care and a switch
towards funding health rather than social care, according to a Help
the Aged report yesterday.

Source:- The Times Wednesday 8 May page 7

Rape case boy

An 11-year-old boy was remanded on unconditional bail for two
weeks at Fleetwood Youth Court in Lancashire yesterday charged with
raping a six-year-old girl.

He is one of the youngest in Britain to face such an

The decision to prosecute was taken by the Crown Prosecution
Service after receiving a file from police.

Source:- The Times Wednesday 8 May page 10

Fine defaulters to be given community work

Thousands of fine defaulters will no longer be sent to prison,
but will be told to pay their debt through community work, under
plans announced by David Blunkett yesterday.

Courts will get the opportunity of making a community punishment
order or a curfew order instead of jailing the fine defaulter. The
home secretary’s call for non-custodial sentences for lesser
and non-violent crime came as figures showed the prison population
jumped by more than 500 in the last week to a record 70,926.

“People who do not pay should work off their fine, rather than
going to jail for a few days. I am talking with the lord chancellor
about bringing into operation the provision in the Crime
(Sentences) Act 1997 to impose the community sentences of unpaid
work for fine defaulters instead of custody,” Blunkett said.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 8 May page 5

Boy in court 150 times is freed

An 11-year-old boy, who has appeared in court more than 150
times, was placed under a three year supervision order at Cardiff
youth court for more than 20 offences during a crime spree in

The judge said his “hands were tied” in passing sentence due to
the boy’s age.

Source:- The Guardian Wednesday 8 May page 6

Why smacking can hurt parents more than

Parents who smack their children often feel guilty and
apologetic afterwards, according to an NSPCC survey yesterday.

Four out of 10 mothers and fathers said they felt like crying
after inflicting physical punishment on their offspring while 69
per cent said sorry to their children.

David Hinchliffe, Labour chairperson of the Commons health
committee, said: “The law does not protect children from being hit
which leaves a large number of children wide open to abuse.”

The NSPCC published research to highlight what it described as a
cycle of physical punishment.

Seven out of 10 parents who were hit as a child were more likely
to repeat behaviour with their own children.

Director Mary Marsh said: “Parents feel terrible after hitting
their children. They clearly need and want alternatives. The
government has a responsibility to take a lead and learn from other
countries where big strides are being made to make hitting children
a thing of the past.”

Source:- Daily Telegraph Wednesday 8 May page 1

Guardian Society

Strangers’ dangers

Families suffer hostility after being relocated to the north

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 8 May page 4

Level headed

New staffing guidelines for care homes

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 8 May page 4

Valued assets

Cost saving of carers equivalent to a second NHS

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 8 May page 5

No stamp required

How refugees are being helped to trace missing relatives

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 8 May page 6

In safe hands?

Who will care for children with severe learning disabilities
when parents die? Philippa Budgen meets families who are trying to
prepare for an uncertain future

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 8 May page 10

The sharp end

A campaign to raise awareness about obstacles for visually
impaired people is gaining ground

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 8 May page 12

Rapid response

A pioneering scheme to get appropriate treatment quickly for
people with mental health problems

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 8 May page

Caught in the middle

Planning row threatens expansion of care home

Source:- Guardian Society Wednesday 8 May page 103

Welsh newspapers

MPs probe police sex abuse investigations

A Parliamentary select committee will begin hearing evidence
about police investigations into past cases of abuse in
children’s homes, next week.

Oral evidence on a number of investigations including the south
Wales police ‘Operation Goldfinch’ will be presented to the home
affairs select committee on Tuesday, May 14.

There have been a number of campaigns highlighting fears over
the way that police gathered evidence in ‘historical’
abuse cases which can date back over 20 to 30 years.

Committee chairmperson Chris Mullins said he recognises that a
whole new genre of miscarriages of justice could have arisen from
the over enthusiastic pursuit of allegations about abuse of
children in institutions many years ago.

But he has also warned that those convicted of sexually abusing
children are more likely to continue to protest their innocence
than any other category of prisoner.

Source:- South Wales Echo Tuesday May 7 page 14

Blunkett to make punishment fit crime

The home secretary has called for a new sentencing guidelines
body to improve consistency.

Speaking in Cardiff yesterday, David Blunkett said that regional
variations in sentencing were ‘unacceptable’, and he
also repeated his call for more non-custodial sentences for lesser
and non-violent offences.

He told the Justices’ Clerks
Society conference that the prison population had risen by a
further 500 last week, to 70,894 and he expressed concern about the
disparity in the use of custody between geographical areas.

“It is my intention that a
sentencing guidelines body be set up to improve consistency in
sentences for offences across the board, in a way that is
authoritative, comprehensive and that all courts would be required
to take account of,” he said.

Source:- Western Mail
Wednesday 8 May page 1








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